An English accent might be difficult for any Charleston actor or actress to pull off, but the cast of the Charleston Light Opera Guild’s production of “My Fair Lady” handles the challenge quite well.
The beloved musical, based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1914 comedy “Pygmalion,” is the Guild’s fourth production of the musical — the last being 25 years ago — and on Sunday night, the cast managed to pull off each scene and song in a delightful, charming way.
“My Fair Lady” is a classic about social classes and how they interact. Lauren Meyer stars as Eliza Doolittle, a poor girl who sells flowers on the streets of London for a living. She only wishes to be fine enough to one day work in a flower shop.
When she bumps into confirmed bachelor and England’s leading linguist, Henry Higgins, played by Chris Terpening, he chooses to take her on as a challenge, promising to turn Doolittle into a proper lady in time for the Embassy ball.
Throughout her training, Doolittle undergoes an intense transformation, from her etiquette to her clothing. The task proves difficult, but Higgins is relentless, forcing Doolittle to work into the wee hours of the night repeating phrases — like “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” — until she hits the proper pronunciation.
Meanwhile, the two unexpectedly grow to care for each other. This leads to problems as the two attempt to go their separate ways at the end of Doolittle’s lessons.
Meyer and Terpening are fantastic in the lead roles. Terpening’s English accent and rendition of “I’m an Ordinary Man” are wonderful. Meyer’s production of “Wouldn’t it Be Lovely” and “I Could Have Danced All Night,” along with the maids and Mrs. Pearce (Julie Miller), are fabulous.
Along the way we meet characters like Doolittle’s father, Alfred (Tim Whitener), whose drunken humor and songs like “With a Little Bit of Luck” and “Get Me to the Church on Time” are easy crowd favorites.
The production runs a little more than three hours long with a small intermission. It drags at moments but is not terribly long.
This classic show is worth checking off your list. Performances are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, May 11 and 12, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday and May 13.